ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County court officials are crediting tools they developed during the COVID-19 pandemic with helping them make a significant transition after a fire closed their offices earlier this month.

All operations at the Winnebago County Courthouse, including all 16 courtrooms, have been moved to the Winnebago County Justice Center, a transition prompted by a Nov. 5 fire.

In addition to all court operations, the circuit clerk’s office, domestic violence center, and self-help center are now operating in the justice center.

Trial Court Administrator Tom Jakeway says thanks to tools his staff developed while they were navigating how to keep working during the pandemic, the recent transition has been nearly seamless.

“There was one day of closure—complete closure of the cases in the main courthouse,” Jakeway said. “Following that, we’ve been able to change the locations or change proceedings to virtual proceedings. And while it’s disruptive, we’ve been able to continue on and do the work that we need to do.”

Jakeway said anyone seeking an order of protection may do so by reporting to the Winnebago County Justice Center or visiting the court’s website to begin the process online.

The courthouse is expected to reopen sometime in December, Jakeway said. The Winnebago County Justice Center is at 650 W. State St., Rockford.